TTU Home Student Counseling CenterHandouts and Information

Handouts and Information

What is an Ally? | Developing a Common Language | Gay and Lesbian Identity Development | Heterosexual Questionaire
Heterosexual Privilege | Trans Definitions | Overview of the Transgender World
The Intersexed Condition | What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality | Choosing a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual-Affirming Therapist


Developing a Common Language

  • LGBTQ: refers to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer Homosexual: A person who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to a person of the same sex.
  • Gay: A common and acceptable term for men who are emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to other men (also used when referring to both men and women).
  • Lesbian: A common and acceptable term for women who are emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to other women.
  • Bisexual: A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to both men and women.
  • Transgender: An umbrella term that includes all levels of gender noncomformity. A transgender person is someone whose gender identity and/or expression differs from conventional expectations for their sex assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to the internal sense of being male, female, or some other gender. Gender expression refers to how people present their gender to the world through style of dress, mannerisms, hairstyle, etc. A transgender person may make a gender transition that modifies their physical characteristics and gender expression to be more aligned with their gender identity. Transgender people can be straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
  • Intersexed: An umbrella term used for several conditions that result in an individual having partially or fully developed sex organs of both genders. While not a dangerous physical condition, it is often treated as a medical emergency, and physicians generally assign a gender to an infant, using surgery and recommending hormonal therapy throughout a lifetime. Typically, intersexuals are not told of their birth status, their surgery, or the cause of resulting medical problems.
  • Transvestites: Individuals who engage in cross-dressing mainly for the purposes of erotic stimulation. Cross-dressing may be limited to undergarments only but may require full attire and make-up for erotic effect. The vast majority of transvestites are heterosexual males, and many are in heterosexual relationships. The goal for transvestites is typically not to appear feminine or pass as female, and transvestism is virtually non-existent in women.
  • Drag Queens/Kings: Individuals who cross-dress, often very elaborately and mostly for entertainment purposes, to imitate the opposite sex as closely as possible. The vast majority are gay men whose relationships are typically with more masculine gay or bisexual men. Although some may be transsexuals, most identify with their biological sex. In contrast, male or female impersonators cross-dress for entertainment purposes only and are mostly heterosexual individuals who identify with their biological sex.
  • Queer: In the past, this term was a derogatory word for gay men and lesbians. It has been reclaimed by more radical LGBT activists during the 1980s and used in the slogans of ACT UP and Queer Nation (We're here, we're queer, get used to it!). Considered a more inclusive term than gay, queer also sometimes refers to a more radical and confrontational type of activism.
  • Homophobia: The irrational fear of homosexuals, homosexuality or any behavior, belief or attitude of self or others which does not conform to rigid sex and gender-role stereotypes. The extreme behavior of homophobia is violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons.
  • Heterosexism: Evidenced by the assumption that everyone is heterosexual. The systematic oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons that is directly linked to sexism.
  • Internalized Oppression: The process by which a member of an oppressed group comes to accept and live out the inaccurate myths and stereotypes applied to the group.
  • Ally: Any non-lesbian, non-gay, non-bisexual or non-transgendered person whose attitudes and behavior are both anti-homophobic and anti-heterosexist and who works toward combating homophobia and heterosexism on a personal and professional level.
  • Coming Out: To publicly declare and affirm one's homosexuality to oneself or to others.
  • In the Closet: To hide one's homosexuality in order to maintain one's job, housing situation, friends, family or in some other way to survive life in a heterosexist culture. Many LGBT persons are out in some circumstances, but closeted in others.
  • Rainbow Flag: The flag was originally designed by San Francisco artist, Gilbert Baker, in 1978 and was intended to be a symbol of gay and lesbian pride. It was inspired by the Flag of the Races which had five stripes, each one representing the colors of human kind. The six colors of the flag — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple — represent the diversity and unity within the LGBT movement. The widespread use of the flag is due less to any official recognition of it as a symbol and more to its adoption by members of the LGBT community. Pink Triangle: An inverted pink triangle was a Nazi symbol used to identify homosexuals during the Holocaust. The symbol was adopted by gays and lesbian activists to remember those who were tortured and killed in Nazi concentration camps.
  • Lambda: This Greek letter was adopted by the Gay Activist Alliance in 1970 as a symbol of the gay movement. An ancient Greek regiment of warriors who carried a flag emblazoned with the lambda marched into battle with their male lovers. The groups was noted for their fierceness and willingness to fight until death.
  • Freedom Rings: These six colored aluminum rings are linked together and reminiscent of the Rainbow Flag. Wearing them has come to symbolize independence and tolerance of others. The rings are often used in necklaces, bracelets, rings and key chains.
  • Double Women's Symbol: Representing the planet Venus, this symbol represents women loving women.
  • Double Man's Symbol: Representing the planet Mars, this symbol represents men loving men.